Holidays In The Suburbs: Of Discord & Delivery Trucks & Discernment

WELP, considering what a year this has been…

it’s no surprise, really, that as we approach the end of December there is discord amongst the ± 3,000 suburbanites here in Mom Trails.

Some residents are not happy with what the HOA has done. This time.

The story of this holiday discord is set in our multi-acre hilly subdivision where, from what I can tell, no one shops in stores, everyone shops online.  From mid-November through December, UPS & FedEx deliver here almost daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

“When I’m worried and cannot sleep, 

I count my blessings instead of sheep, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

TO KEEP things simple… 

UPS & FedEx have put large plain storage units in the four flat pool parking lots.  These storage units have all been discretely placed away from the street, close to the pool houses where you barely notice them as you go by.

Then multiple times throughout the day the large delivery trucks, that we usually see on our curvy streets, go to these units where the drivers drop-off copious amounts of stuff, while door-to-door delivery people drive around the subdivision in cute energy-efficient golf carts delivering the stuff to each house.

~ ~  ~ ~

“When my bankroll is getting small, 

I think of when I had none at all, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

I LOVE this idea because…

1) it keeps the large delivery trucks from blocking traffic on our streets during the day [safety];  and 2) these companies have paid the HOA for the right to put these storage units in the unused pool parking lots [cha-ching].

However, neighbors who do not know how to count their blessings are displeased to see the allegedly tacky storage units around the subdivision, and are trying to stop what the HOA has already contracted to do.

*shakes head at the stupid*

So it is with this little glimpse into my holiday suburban world, that I leave you, my gentle readers, with the following musical number that melodiously encapsulates my opinion on this latest HOA controversy.

 ~

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE

I’ll catch up with you in January. 

 ~

I Am Clumsy But With My Priorities In The Right Place

I fell on my face at Goodwill. Literally.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, I parked in front of the donation door at our local Goodwill.  I started pulling items out of the trunk of my car, and was carrying two folding chairs, one in each hand, when I tripped over a 3″ high little curb painted a jazzy shade of yellow.

And with that I face-planted myself on the cement sidewalk.

Save for a small scratch on the little finger side of my left hand & a scrape on the top of my right ankle, I didn’t hurt myself.  I went down too quickly to even tense up, plus I’m somewhat plump in my older years which helped keep me safe.

I kind of bounced more than I splatted.

I’ll admit that it was a fascinating experience to calmly realize that I was falling face down onto the sidewalk with no way to stop myself.  No one near me to catch me.

Just me on my own, falling down. Unceremoniously.

And what was going through my addled brain as this was happening?  Well, to be honest, and you wouldn’t want me to be anything but that, I was thinking: “Hmmm… well at least this will make for a good story.”

Yep, no need to worry about me, my gentle readers, I have my priorities in order.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-7-06-20-am
{ via Giphy}

 

Unwanted: A Photo Study Of Stuff, With Commentary

• OUT FOR A STROLL AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD, I saw this little chest of drawers sitting out by the curb, waiting for trash pick-up.  I immediately thought of Downton Abbey’s Mr. Carson’s observation: “If you are tired of style, you are tired of life.”

dscn7817

~ • ~

• WALKING THROUGH OUR LITTLE DOWNTOWN, I saw this sign on the window of a dilapidated building that I hope to heaven is torn down soon.  It’s the kind of private property that appears to be one sneeze away from collapse, and as such, is dangerous to walk by.

dscn1802

~ • ~

• ORGANIZING THE JUNK DRAWER, in search of coins, I found this long-expired casino voucher for a whopping 15¢.  Never let it be said that I am not a frugal optimist, albeit a disorganized one, who believed that she’d get back to the casino to redeem this voucher.

dscn5892

~ • ~

• SORTING THROUGH THE BASEMENT, I found these moving boxes that I saved from our last move 17 years ago.  Interestingly enough, I have no idea where they came from.  We are not the Sparks family, but apparently years ago we got their stoneware, plus bowls and glasses.

dscn7791

~ ~ • ~ ~

Of Plans & Parsley Thwarted

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”

~ E. B. White

• • •

DSCN7683
Two parsley worms munching on my parsley.

Zen-Den and I took last week off to go on a staycation.

My plans for our staycation, which we scheduled last January, revolved around the idea that together we’d be able to do a long list of outside chores.  But the weather turned hot & muggy with rain so we weren’t able to do much outside.

Like I’d planned. Carefully.

At first the weather bummed me out, but after a rather stern Come-to-Jesus meeting with myself I managed to convince me that all was not lost.  That I’d adapt to this unfortunate turn in staycation weather with a revised plan and a hopeful heart.

Dammit.

• • •

So what did we do on our staycation?

Well, I’m glad you asked, my gentle readers.  We did boring things, mostly inside the house, that had needed to be done for a long time.  To wit:

  • we cleaned out more of the basement, taking 2 carloads of stuff to Goodwill;
  • we sorted through clothes closets and our garage, tossing out all sorts of junk;
  • we shredded documents from as far back as 1998;
  • we cleaned out both the refrigerator + freezer, going so far as to replace the water filter in the frig;
  • we installed the last 3 new outdoor lights, a project we began last fall, taking the old still useable lights to Habitat For Humanity;  and
  • we tried 2 new dessert recipes, Mexican Brownies & Apricot Clafouti.

We were productive and made yummy things to eat.

• • •

DSCN7685
One particularly hungry parsley worm followed the parsley stem to the end.

But much more was going on here than de-cluttering and dessert.

While we were working to make things less cluttered inside the house, two parsley worms set up residence in my herb pot, and decided to devour as much parsley as possible.

I’d be upset about this except that in light of all the current chaos and discord going on in the United States, their destruction seemed insignificant.

Charming, even.

Plus I know that if they eat enough now, they’ll be able to turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies later in the summer.  And that kind of small hope, of transformation and growth, of plans succeeding, makes me think that tomorrow will be a better day.

For them.

For us.

For everyone.

• • •

Breakfast In The Afternoon On The Way To Being Charitable

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.34.30 PM
While I’ve no doubt my readers know what a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin looks like, I present this image for future Historians who 200 years hence will need a visual to understand this post. Historians, you may thank me in the footnotes of your doctoral theses.

I had my first afternoon Egg McMuffin last week.

It was late Thursday afternoon, and Z-D & I were on our way to Habitat for Humanity to drop off our old, but still usable, outdoor light fixtures that have been in my way in the garage for months.

[We replaced them last autumn with new black ones that use LED bulbs, with clear beveled glass– and the value of our home doubled. Really. The improvement is amazing.]

I was feeling peckish as we drove along, and in a moment of inspiration I directed Zen-Den to stop at the next McDonald’s so that I could feast on the one item I like at McDonald’s.

[Also I wanted a cup of black coffee.  They have good coffee, which I needed to wash down my formerly unavailable after 10:30 a.m. sandwich delight.]

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.43.21 PM
Hello again future Historians. This logo, which we saw all over the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, was easy to recognize as we followed the signs on the streets through a working part of town. Once at the store a friendly employee helped us unload our donations to the store.  

So he did.

And I got an Egg McMuffin, which might have been the best one I’ve ever eaten.  A bit of an exaggeration, but it was good.

Especially at the “wrong” time of day.

Eaten in rush hour traffic while someone else chauffeured me around the city on our way to doing good.

Talk about your win-win situation.  😉

As Pumpkins As My Witness, I’ll Never Be Cluttered Again

DSCN6129

• • •

Good Morning!

I’m pulling together a post today, the first full day of Daylight Savings Time, by using this delightful Halloween photo, taken yesterday, and by re-wording a famous quote.

After all, what is a blog but a place to let your freak flag fly?

Especially on a Monday morning after a lazy Sunday in which I never got out of my jammies, but did manage to photograph our jack-o-lanterns.

Oh happy day!

• • •

But now that it’s Monday morning I’m feeling the need to accomplish something.

The muse of productivity, and my inner Katie Scarlett O’Hara, are telling me to apply myself to what is directly in front of me, take control of the situation, and get on with life.

That is, in a word, DECLUTTER.

Meaning that today I’ll be putting things away in the places where they belong. Sorting through piles of magazines + catalogues + recipes. Reviewing and filing important scribbled notes for future decorating and writing projects.

• • •

So with a hat tip to GWTW I’ve begun to chant to myself: “they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be disorganized again.”

To me, this chant seems motivational.  To you, it might seem nuts, but if I end up with a tidy house and know where things are, who’ll be laughing then?

Hmmm?!

• • •

• • •

[ALSO:  I know how you people think.  So let me say right here that if you, gentle readers, go all Rhett Butler and say you don’t give a damn, I wouldn’t believe you.  

Why?  Because if you’ve read this far down you do care about me!  So say something nice.  I need all the encouragement I can get and it’ll be good karma for you.] 

Organizing Gibberish Thusly

DSCN5720
First leaf with Autumn color says, “Look at me!”

THIS WEEK I’VE BEEN SORTING through my desk drawers and my computer files.  I save lots of ideas, either scribbled on bits of paper or quickly typed on computer sticky notes.

I keep these ideas as prompts just in case I need something to write about here.

Like today.

MOST OF MY SAVED ITEMS are snippets of thoughts that float through my mind while I’m doing something else, so they’re not fully formed ideas.  In fact, they are generally pure gibberish.

But I continue to believe that one of these saved items will be the best idea ever, so I’m reluctant to throw any of them away– until I do.

I could be deluded, of course.

[Rather like Gayle King and her massive purse + jewelry collection, featured in O magazine this month.  It’s a collection so unwieldy that it required an outsider to sort through it, culling out that which no longer serves her.]   

[Alright, maybe my little pile of ideas is nothing like Gayle’s purse collection, but you get my drift.  Too much of anything is confusing.]

DSCN5698
Underwhelming decorative Summer grass says, “I’m not dead yet!”

I WON’T BURDEN YOU WITH a list of my half-formed ideas.  I respect your time and sanity, my gentle readers.

But I just wanted to let you know that I’m still moseying along the blogging trail.

Tossing and deleting the gibberish as I go.